Faith At the Border. Keeping Hope Alive For The Displaced Children And Families
Prayerful Reflections at the Border from World Vision President & CEO Andrew Morley
At the Ukraine-Romania border: A mother holding her children close to her. A youth crying as he worries about his friends who are still trapped in Ukraine. A toddler waiting in the bitter winter cold for shelter.
Prayer is powerful, and I can tell you this: prayer is exactly what the children of Ukraine need, right now, in their hour of need.
I have just returned from Siret, on the northern Romania border with Ukraine. Children are crossing the border afraid, confused and in tears. They have fled the conflict, left their dads behind, and face a world of uncertainty. Some children are arriving with no one to support them.
The sounds of conflict can be heard across the border – a constant reminder of the violence children have fled. Conditions are wretched – temperatures below freezing with snow.
What struck me this week is that every child who crossed the border had tears, pain, and fear in their eyes.
Many more children and families on the other side, in Ukraine, are still waiting to get through after a very difficult journey to even get to the border.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Romanian people I have met – many have driven to the border, and are taking refugees into their homes. They are an inspiration and are living out the Christian values we hold dear in a very practical way.
Children have been traumatised
I want to share a story of one family I met.
10-year-old Sacha, from Kyiv, was arriving at the border in tears. His mum Valentina simply told me: “It breaks our heart.” Like so many children, Sacha has been separated from his father. He was devastated to leave his country. After struggling to get enough petrol and waiting for hours in the snake-like queues at the border, Sacha and his mother arrived after an extremely tiring journey. His mother feels this is “just the beginning” – she is scared for their future.
(All videos courtesy of World Vision Singapore)
I had the privilege of praying for our staff right there at the border. We are uniquely positioned. Our staff have been in Romania for decades and have teams already present near the border who are responding immediately. Our focus, as always, is on children who have been through so much.
Our Chief Executive Officer in Romania, Mihaela, told me: “This is a tragedy for us too.” The Romanians feel the pain that their neighbours are going through and they are there to help them.
Andrew Morley In conversation with Mihaela:
This is a crisis that is relentless and continues around the clock, with ever greater numbers fleeing violence. World Vision is there – but we need your support, and we need your prayers.
Working with faith leaders
The church has a huge role to play in this response too. Responding together with church leaders is a key part of our work. I spoke with Father Ionel Malos, the Archbishop of Radauti in Romania. The church is very well placed to respond immediately and meet children’s needs. They have trust and respect in the community. We partner with church leaders in so many crises, in so many parts of the world. We cannot do this without them. The church is at the forefront of peace.
Seeking your prayers
I want to thank all of you and your churches for their support and generosity. There are hungry, tired, scared children who are crossing the border right now with a heavy heart. They are congregating in freezing temperatures, with harsh winds blowing across a desolate landscape, hungry and tired, after a long and difficult journey.
Thanks to your support and prayers, we really can make a difference – and keep hope alive.
Finally, and importantly, please pray for peace. This is the only solution to the crisis – and I urge us all to unite in prayer and petition.
Join us in advocating for peace and donate to our Ukraine Emergency Response: https://www.worldvision.org.sg/ukraine